Mixed Cryptic: Reversals, Homophones and Containers

Time for another mixed cryptic, featuring our three most recent clue-types:

Here's  reminder of some of the tricks you can use to distinguish these different cluetypes, though (of course) it might not be simple to tell in practice....

  • Reversals are when you get clued a sequence of letters and have to reverse them. Reversal indicators include “backward,” “reverse," “turned about,” “about-face,” “U-turn” or "wrong way," “somersault” and “backflip” and “retreat”; additionally, there are special reversal indicators for Across clues (such as “turns left,” “go west”) and Down entries (such as “up,” “north”, "standing up", or "climb" or "rise").
  • Homophones are sound-alikes. Homophone indicators include references to hearing (“I heard,” “in the ear,” “listened to”, "all to hear"), speaking (“orally,” “out loud,” “said,” “recited”, "announced") and phrases like “On the radio,” “broadcast,” “over the airwaves,” “reportedly” and more.
  • Containers tell you to put a letter or letters inside another word. Container indicators include Words for around such as “eat,” “swallow,” “gobble up,” "encase", "encircle", “consume”, “take”, “grab,” “get,” “outside” and “with”; containers can also be presented as one thing inside another, with indicators such as “in,” “inside” and "breaking"

It's Complicated

A couple of extra points we haven't covered previously. In longer homophone, the wordplay part may be composed of multiple sound-a-like words, creating a kind of homophonic-charade. For example, try this clue where the wordplay is composed of two separate homophon-ings:

Secondly, many cryptic clues can contain multiple wordplay types. For example, today's puzzle contains this delightfully tricky clue.

🧩
Gives calming drugs to Tad, coming up covered with spots (7)

Which contains a definition, a short reversal, which is itself contained in a (normal-direction) indicated word – see if you can put it together below!

Mixed Cryptic: Reversals, Homophones and Containers

And with that, we're ready to solve today's full cryptic! If you have trouble with any of the clues, you can scroll down to see the clue-type or the full explanation by hovering over the hidden text.

Clue Types + Explanations

See the clue-type or the full explanation for each clue in today's grid by hovering over the hidden text.


clue: 1-Across. Head of security, breaking rules, quits (7)
type: container
explanation: "reigns" is a synonym for "rules" (as a verb); S is the first letter ("head") of "security"; "breaking" is a container indicator; so re + s + igns = resigns


clue: 5-Across. Created a buzz announcing dictionary entry (7)
type: homophone
explanation: "Created a buzz" is WHIRRED; "announcing" is the homophone indicator; "dictionary entry" is "word"


clue: 6-Across. Moving west, capture and damage castle fortification (7)
type: reversal
explanation: "Moving west" is a reversal indictor for an across clue. "capture" is "trap" and "damage" is "mar", together giving "trapmar" which reverses into RAMPART, a castle fortification.


clue: 7-Across. Reportedly gives aid to gullible people (7)
type: homophone
explanation: "Reportedly" is a homophone indictor. "Gives aid to" is "succors". Gullible people is SUCKERS.


clue: 1-Down. Communists collecting battle bounties (7)
type: container
explanation: RE + WAR + DS. Communists are "reds", "collecting" is a container indicator, "battle" is "war", and bounties are REWARDS.


clue: 2-Down. Earthshaking laments singer Jagger said aloud (7)
type: homophone
explanation: SEISMIC means "earthshaking". "laments" are sighs and "Mick" is "signer Jagger", which together gives "sighs-Mick". "said aloud" is the homophone indicator.


clue: 3-Down. Refuse returning, for example, a boast (7)
type: reversal
explanation: GARBAGE is "refuse". "Returning" is the reversal indicator. "for example" is e.g., and "a boast" is "a brag". If you reverse "eg-a-brag" you get GARBAGE.


clue: 4-Down. Gives calming drugs to Tad, coming up covered with spots (7)
type: reversal + container
explanation: 'Tad, coming up' tells us to reverse the word TAD, giving DAT. 'Covered' indicates that DAT is contained in a word meaning 'spots', which in this case is SEES -- 'sees' is a synonym for the verb form of 'spots'. SE-DAT-ES = SEDATES, which means "gives calming drugs to."

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